News / Africa

Kitengela Glass Produces Art Outside Nairobi National Park

At the edge of Nairobi National Park sits Kitengela Glass, where artisans make internationally-renowned vases, goblets, pitchers and other glassworks. They use recycled materials to make their creations and work in a compound where people, animals, trees and art all co-exist.

Artisans fashion stained-glass windows at Kitengela Glass
Artisans fashion stained-glass windows at Kitengela Glass

Multimedia

A magical fairyland, where houses are dragons, mosaic pathways lead to mysterious nooks and crannies, and all manner of creatures are fast friends.

Welcome to Kitengela Glass.

Here, 75 artisans create lampshades, goblets, beaded curtains - even hats made from old beer cans.

"When I learn how to cut glass, I can draw; I can make a bird, an animal like a lion, a frog," said artisan Millycent Makena. "If you learn how to cut glass, you learn a lot, so if I am told to cut an image of a fish, I can do it and go to the next level."

Kitengela artisans use traditional glass blowing methods.

First, the glass blower gathers a blob of liquid glass from inside the oven. The glass is very hot - 1,100 degrees centigrade. He then expands the blob by blowing into it.

And shapes it into whatever he wishes.

A punty - a steel rod with a small glass blob - aids the production.

Finishing touches are added, and viola! All ready for the dining room table.

Joseph Githinji Kiboi is training to become a glass blower.

"[It is] something I have never seen before - I just used to see this on the videos, on pictures, but now I can make something of the sort, where I have to imagine," he said. "After imagining a design, the materials are available; I produce what I have imagined. Then it is accepted by customers who come here and visit us."

Kitengela Glass products include stained glass using recycled materials
Kitengela Glass products include stained glass using recycled materials

Elsewhere at Kitengela Glass, artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks...and fashion stained-glass windows, lamps and other objects.

Nani Croze founded Kitengela Glass after coming to Kenya 30 years ago from Germany. She says the compound itself is her work of art.

"It is letting people know what they can do with an environment, how beautiful you can make it, and it does not have to be square and please, no straight lines," she said. "I am not alone with this."

Nothing is wasted. Artisans collect and use recycled glass, cans, scrap metal and other waste materials.

And not just to make art.

"We run our bio-gas with cow dung and a bit of water and it works," said Croze. "I run the soldering irons with it, I cook food with just our bio-gas and it works very nicely. I have a wonderful green shamba - garden - now because of the effluents of the bio-gas afterwards. We have a windmill; I have solar [panels]."

Croze is a muralist by profession. She says everything within the compound encourages creativity.

Artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks
Artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks

"Everybody has to go around with a pencil and a paper pad, and if anything comes to mind, you need to write it down, or draw it, or sketch it for the ideas that are continually bombarding our brains, so we should really not forget them," she said. "Only a very small portion of what we actually think and conceive gets to be made because there is so much out there that we do not have enough hands, heads, time."

Kitengela Glass products are sold in different parts of East Africa, with some being shipped to Europe and North America.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More